A true liberal arts education is meant to introduce students to a wide variety of thoughts, and professors are supposed to be the well-intentioned and informed mediators of discussion. However, it is very clear that, as stated by a New York Times reporter in 2010, a “professor is a label that leans left.”
Robert Lichter of George Mason University, Stanley Rothman of Smith College and Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto conducted the last comprehensive study on the topic in 2005, examining the political affiliations of professors on college campuses nationwide. The findings were based on a survey of 1,643 full-time faculty members at 183 four-year universities. The researchers relied on 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey. The study found that 72 percent of American professors are liberal and only 15 percent are conservative. Not surprisingly, the disparity was found to be the largest at elite schools, where 87 percent of faculty identify as liberal. According to a more recent study by UCLA in 2013, the trend is only getting worse.
Additionally, among other interesting tidbits, the 2005 study found that 65 percent of faculty members want the government to ensure full employment, a stance to the left of the current Democratic Party’s position. It should be noted that, according to Gallup, self-identified conservatives outnumber liberals two to one in the country; therefore, you would expect to see college campuses be at least a little bit more balanced, especially considering that they pride themselves on their “diversity.” Well, think again.
The history of college radicalism and liberalism is a rich one. Ward Churchill, who infamously compared 9/11 victims to Nazis, was a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder for 17 years. Bill Ayers, an unapologetic terrorist in the Weather Underground, was a professor at the College of Education at the University of Illinois in Chicago, once even holding the title of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar. His like-minded wife, who put forth a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States and was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, was a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law until 2013. Both individuals, under the umbrella of the Weather Underground, staged the bombings of various public buildings to express their outrage over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Moreover, in April 2013, former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer Kathy Boudin was named scholar-in-residence at New York University; at the time, she was also a professor at Columbia University. After serving 20 years in prison for murder, Columbia offered her a full-time position.
And these are only the terrorists. Leftists with wacky views about world politics can be found all over American college campuses — including at Georgetown. Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson has accused former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of thinking like a white supremacist and insinuated that the Bible teaching of loving Jesus could be considered homoerotic. Another Georgetown professor, Preston Mitchum, has called on Americans to celebrate “Parent’s Day” because gendered nouns are somehow offensive. The university as a whole also endorses liberal moves on climate change, with professors touting it and hiding behind our Catholic identity to promote it — only because it aligns with their own personal political views. On the issue of traditional marriage, however — another tenet of Catholic doctrine — the university is notably silent.
By taking stances on political issues, hiring like-minded professors who sing the same tune and holding one-sided panel discussions on issues such as racial strife in America — all of which Georgetown has done — the very concept of a university of free thought is made into a punch line. What a disservice this does to students who actually believe going to college will better their lives and their understanding of the world — little do so many know that, on the contrary, elite universities are turning into mobilization centers for hard-core leftist activists, while kicking all others to the curb.
Former conservative Georgetown government professor Patrick Deneen left the hilltop for the University of Notre Dame in 2012, saying that he felt he had no support or encouragement from his colleagues. He wrote at the time, “I have felt isolated from the heart of the institution where I have devoted so many of my hours and my passion. Over time, I discovered that I was lonely at Georgetown.” Unfortunately, too many conservative students here feel exactly the same way.
Michael Khan is a sophomore in the College. Mr. Right appears every other Tuesday.